There-there – percussion musical instrument, one of the types of gong. It consists of a large convex disk, which is made of metal, most often bronze. The mallet used for playing is a wooden handle with a felt tip. When struck with a mallet, the disk vibrates for a long time, resulting in sound waves rising and falling, which creates the feeling of a colossal sound mass. Tam-tam has a solemn, sad and formidable timbre. Playing on there-there is possible in different ways. To obtain complex rhythms, drumsticks or metal rods were used, which were driven around the disc. Sounds were also extracted from the double bass bow.
African or Asian roots
There are two versions of the origin of the instrument. One of them says that the instrument may have Asian roots, this is evidenced by its similarity with the family of gongs. Sound comparison of the Chinese gong and tam-tam confirms this version. According to the second version, tam-tam is considered an instrument of ancient African tribes. Previously, coconut shells and dried buffalo skin were used to make it.
In eastern, western and central Africa, two types of tam-tam are found. The first type is solid wood, cut or hollowed out in the trunk along the length of the tree, has two surfaces for impact. The second type is drums covered with leather on top: one plays on a high note, the second on a low one. In addition to these species, there are many more varieties out there. The sizes of musical instruments are different: from 2 meters to very small ones, similar to rattles.
There-there as a means of communication
In Africa, tam-tam was used as a means of communication to inform tribesmen about the birth or death, the attack of enemies, the approach of a catastrophe. Magical rituals are associated with it, such as omens, curses. Just a few centuries ago, the ruler of the Congo distributed his orders with the help of tam-tam, the sounds of the drum were heard at a distance of more than thirty kilometers. In order to transmit information over long distances, the method of phased transmission of information was used: from one there-there to another. And in our time, in many villages in Africa, such a ritual of transmitting information has been preserved.
There-there in classical and contemporary music
In classical music, tam-tam was first used by the composer Giacomo Meyerbeer. The modern instrument began to look a little different from its ancestor. For the manufacture of the disc, bronze is used more often, less often an alloy with copper and tin. The disk itself has a convex shape and a more impressive size. In musical compositions for orchestra, tam-tam makes it possible to convey a special mood to music: majesty, anxiety, menace. Sounds there and there sound in famous works: Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, Glinka’s Ruslan and Lyudmila, at the end of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6. Glinka’s instrument can be heard in the episode when Chernomor kidnaps Lyudmila. In Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade” tragic sounds are heard at the sinking of the ship. D. Shostakovich used tam-tam in a number of works to emphasize the tragic climax in his works.